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Old 12-07-2009, 02:37 PM   #1
alrightythen
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9+ hour drive

We will be driving from NC to WDW next month. My kids have done 3-4 hour trips before, but never one of this magnitude.

We have 3 kids going (5, 7, 8 yo) and 3 adults going. We'll be driving a van w/ an entertainment system, so they can watch movies and they all have video game systems they can play. But I know that's not going to keep them entertained the whole time. We are planning to leave at 7AM and stopping 2-3 times for meals/leg stretches/bathroom breaks and hope to get to the condo in FL by 6-7PM.

Other ideas on how to keep them happy and keep the driver from being stressed out w/ whiny kids?
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:44 PM   #2
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We did a 14-hour drive with a 3- & 7-year-old, and they did GREAT (wasn't to Disney, though). We have a DVD player in the car, and they watched a few movies and that really kept them entertained. They also napped and looked at books. We stopped enough to stretch legs and stuff. You might think about switching seating positions in the car - sometimes that satisfies them for a while. You'll probably get a little bit of whining and "are we there yet" but I think you'll find they'll do surprisingly well. Maybe even moreso than the adults.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
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This is exactly the reason why we do the trip opposite from you. We're also in NC...Salisbury...and leave around 7pm. We do a late dinner stop in SC and a fuel/bathroom break. The kids spend most of the time sleeping...really cuts down on the whining I get a hotwire room for cheap on the night we are traveling so that we can check in and sleep when we arrive between 4 and 5am.

Anyway, I would get movies that they haven't seen. Maybe some little toys or car games. Lots of snacks...no whining with your mouth full!!
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:29 PM   #4
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Our drive to WDW is 12 hours and we did it with a 5, 4, and 15 month old and it was long. We, too, had an entertainment system in the car, but that didn't entertain our toddler very long. With your kids ages, I would think you will be fine. We will be making the 12 hour trip again this spring and I am hoping the drive is better this time around. We will leave around 2:00 am and drive straight through. We have to go to Tampa to pick up the camper we are going to be using, so we will be staying the night in Tampa and then getting up to arrive at WDW the next day. My plan for long car rides is to have the entertainment system, portable video game system, new books, new coloring/activity books, and some new Dollar Store toys for the trip. I think I am going to make some travel activity books using the ideas from the Creative DISigns board. They have some great ideas on that board. Good luck!
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
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When my family drove to WDW when I was 8, my mom invented the quarter system. We had a TV/VCR Combo in the car and I watched a ton of movies on it.

The quarter system SAVED my mother's sanity. She gave me a roll of quarters (10 dollars) and told me that every time I asked "are we there yet" or generally winned about the car ride down, I had to give up a quarter. I never wined a bit until we got to Jacksonville and I had to go to the bathroom. I lost 2 dollars worth of quarter's between Jacksonville and Orlando.

I was 8 on this trip and the only child going, with 3 adults.
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:47 PM   #6
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OP, where in NC are you driving from? I am in the middle of the state and drive to WDW frequently.

I break the trip up into five "legs" - NC to Florence, SC, Florence to Savannah, Savannah to Jacksonville, Jacksonville to Daytona Beach/I4, I4 to Orlando. Each "leg" is at least an hour and most are in the 2 - 3 hour range. It takes me between 9 1/2 and 10 1/2 hours, depending on stops and traffic.

For each "leg" I would have a schedule - one movie, a set time for game systems, something you do as a family/group (play a road game, sing, etc.) and some "quiet time" also. Plus, I'd buy a few little trinkets for each child and let them open at the beginning of each new "leg" of the trip. A coloring book and crayons, a short book for the older ones, etc. Something that can be played with in the lap and entertain for 15 to 30 minutes.

I'd also stop for a meal/snack, a bathroom break and gas somewhere during each of those "legs." Just a couple of minutes to get out and stretch/go to the bathroom, etc.
Adding a little time for stops makes it more pleasant for everyone in the car!!
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:47 PM   #7
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We too are in NC, very close to Salisbury!

The drive really is not too bad. We stop only 2-3 times. DS is older now but we did this when he was little and going next trip with 3yr old! We leave about 5am and get there mid -afternoon. We always stop at the Flordia Welcome center for OJ.

When DS was little he loved for me to read to him in the car. I would read for hours. PSP was great as he got older. DGS is a great on trips and as long as we interact with him ,will stay happy for hours. Guess the point is that my kids liked ME the best for entertainment. We read, sing, talk, play silly guess who games and just enjoy our time together!!!!!
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:51 PM   #8
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We did the 23 hr (each way) trip last year and again this May.

My two younger ones (now 5&3) have severe motion sickness (so do I), so we were really not looking forward to the trip. It was actually much better than we had expected. We drive straight through, so the kids sleep about half the trip. We have DVD players and brought a box of activities to keep them occupied. They didn't whine during any of the 4 car trips and never once did we have to stop because one of them had to go to the bathroom-- DH and I always had to go before they did.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:26 PM   #9
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We drive from Ohio and it's about 15 hours for us straight through.

We just went over Thanksgiving and only stopped when we had to get gas ( about every 5 hours). We grabbed fast food then and made quick trips to the bathroom. Mind you I'm 8 months pregnant too!

We've found that if we dawdle too much it actually makes the drive worse. My kids know that when we stop for longer than 5 minutes than we're stopped for good and we've reached our destination.

We have a van with dual dvd players so we can play 2 different movies...although they tend to only watch 1 or 2 moives each way. We also have wifi cards for our laptops and the kids enjoy playing games on them. And they also have their Nintendo Ds's that they play some. None of them sleep much on the ride though but they do just fine.

We'll be making the trip again when our newest addition is about 10 weeks old. I know we'll have to stop more then but hopefully he does just as well as his siblings so we can continue our trips we all enjoy so much!!
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:00 AM   #10
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I'm more than a little type A...

Our trip is six months away and I'm already gearing up for the road trip portion. The drive is 16 hours for us and I have planned to rotate movies, car games for the whole family (including some new ones I found on the net), crafts/workbooks, and handheld games. I've been picking up new (and/or really OLD) Disney movies which the kids haven't seen yet, so they'll be Completely involved in the videos. I also picked up little prizes from the Dollar Store, Dollar Tree and Target $1 aisle to use as prizes for some of the games. The kids are soooo excited about the drive and all the stuff I have planned.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:03 AM   #11
bunkkinsmom
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Look at all the Tarheels!!! Hey Ya'll!

I'm in central NC as well and have one word for you.......Amtrak.

Don't laugh, it's cheap and overnight.

We are 4 adults and 3 kids going roundtrip with AAA discount for less than $500. (Kids are half price!) We leave Gboro around 530 and head for Cary, only about an hour away. Have dinner at TGIF (have a friend who is the GM!) and then head to the train station in Cary. Train leaves at 9pm, we get settled, pull out laptops/dvd players for the kids. By 1030 they are out. We wake up, change clothes, brush teeth, eat breakfast. By 10 am we are in Orlando!

AND>>>>>> You slept, so you are rested!!! No more 1st day yawns!!!

Either way, you will have a blast!
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunkkinsmom View Post
Look at all the Tarheels!!! Hey Ya'll!

I'm in central NC as well and have one word for you.......Amtrak.

Don't laugh, it's cheap and overnight.

We are 4 adults and 3 kids going roundtrip with AAA discount for less than $500. (Kids are half price!) We leave Gboro around 530 and head for Cary, only about an hour away. Have dinner at TGIF (have a friend who is the GM!) and then head to the train station in Cary. Train leaves at 9pm, we get settled, pull out laptops/dvd players for the kids. By 1030 they are out. We wake up, change clothes, brush teeth, eat breakfast. By 10 am we are in Orlando!

AND>>>>>> You slept, so you are rested!!! No more 1st day yawns!!!

Either way, you will have a blast!
We took the Amtrak from Raleigh this past April to Orlando and I thought it was going to be an easy experience. We were supposed to leave Raleigh at 9:00 pm, but we didn't leave Raleigh until 11:45 pm!! Boarding was chaos and they were telling us that we had to split up our family of 5 into 3 different seating areas. With 3 kids who were 6, 5, and 2 that really wasn't an option. They finally worked out a solution, but it was not at all the relaxing trip I thought it would be. The trip back from Orlando was just as bad. The conductors were awful that we had our legs of the trip. The trains were disgusting. I don't think there is enough Lysol in the world to sanitize any of those things. I thought the train to Orlando was disgusting but it paled in comparison to the one we had on our return to Raleigh. I don't think we will ever do Amtrak again. Well, if we could afford a family suite or 2 sleeper compartments, we might give it a try, but I have my doubts. It was extremely cheap though...I doubt we could have drove it for what we paid in tickets.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:01 AM   #13
alrightythen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunkkinsmom View Post
Look at all the Tarheels!!! Hey Ya'll!

I'm in central NC as well and have one word for you.......Amtrak.

Don't laugh, it's cheap and overnight.

We are 4 adults and 3 kids going roundtrip with AAA discount for less than $500. (Kids are half price!) We leave Gboro around 530 and head for Cary, only about an hour away. Have dinner at TGIF (have a friend who is the GM!) and then head to the train station in Cary. Train leaves at 9pm, we get settled, pull out laptops/dvd players for the kids. By 1030 they are out. We wake up, change clothes, brush teeth, eat breakfast. By 10 am we are in Orlando!

AND>>>>>> You slept, so you are rested!!! No more 1st day yawns!!!

Either way, you will have a blast!
Gboro as in Greensboro or Goldsboro? I live about 10 minutes from Goldsboro!!!

I think the train would be a great idea, but we need to have a vehicle there as we are staying offsite and don't want the added expense of a rental.

Thank for all the tips! Keep 'em coming!
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmaee View Post
We took the Amtrak from Raleigh this past April to Orlando and I thought it was going to be an easy experience. We were supposed to leave Raleigh at 9:00 pm, but we didn't leave Raleigh until 11:45 pm!! Boarding was chaos and they were telling us that we had to split up our family of 5 into 3 different seating areas. With 3 kids who were 6, 5, and 2 that really wasn't an option. They finally worked out a solution, but it was not at all the relaxing trip I thought it would be. The trip back from Orlando was just as bad. The conductors were awful that we had our legs of the trip. The trains were disgusting. I don't think there is enough Lysol in the world to sanitize any of those things. I thought the train to Orlando was disgusting but it paled in comparison to the one we had on our return to Raleigh. I don't think we will ever do Amtrak again. Well, if we could afford a family suite or 2 sleeper compartments, we might give it a try, but I have my doubts. It was extremely cheap though...I doubt we could have drove it for what we paid in tickets.
WOW! I am so sorry you had such a bad experience! We had a great time, all of us sat together (last year there were 8) and had no worries. On time there and back. The sleepers are quite a bit more expensive. I heard a tip once that if you wait a few minutes after the train is underway you can ask the conductor if there are any available and sometimes they will let them go for cheap. And yes, the majority of the employees were not very "magical", but we were nice to them and they eventually loosened up!

Gboro as in Greensboro or Goldsboro? I live about 10 minutes from Goldsboro!!!

I think the train would be a great idea, but we need to have a vehicle there as we are staying offsite and don't want the added expense of a rental.

Thank for all the tips! Keep 'em coming!


Greensboro, but that's still not too far!!
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:30 AM   #15
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When we drove, it was about an 18 hr drive. We stopped overnight, of course, but in addition to videos, and gameboys, I packed some surprises in their backpacks, little toys, coloring books, and games. They make travel versions of Connect 4 and Candyland, and I'm sure others. I found them at Kohls, they are the perfect size and designed for travel. Also, after the first "How much longer/are we there yet?' comment I got, I outlined to them again how long we would be on the road and what was going to be happening, I told them that for every time they asked that question, they would lose $1 of their Disney money. It worked like a charm! they didn't ask again! I hope your trip goes well. If it's only 9 hrs, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised, I know I was when we took our two day road trip. Have a fantastic vacation!
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